How to Make Easy Money

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Now, you're thinking: "Yes, but that's illegal."

But folks, we mean something totally different, and perfectly legal. It's old school way of: Negotiating like a bad ass.

"But I'm not making money negotiating, am I?"

Sure, you won't really "make money." But, you'll save. And as the great financial gurus like to tell us, "saving" equals "earning." Whether it's your hotel stays, your car rentals, your airfare, your clothes, a programming job, consulting services, or Kevin Federline's new Vanilla Ice album on compact disc, you can negotiate practically anything this world and its mama sells you. Says Sarah McBride of the Wall Street Journal:

"Most people don't think twice about bargaining when it comes to something big, like a new car or home. But getting a price cut on smaller things, cable bills, doctors' fees, electronics goods, can be surprisingly easy: Just ask."

So when you're out buying new shoes (it doesn't matter the store), ask for a discount -- or a free pair of socks. Chances are good you'll get something.

Why does negotiating usually work?

One, but certainly not conclusive, list:

  • Manager Sally wants to rid excess inventory from her shop.
    So she'll perfectly welcome you with open arms for a fair price.

  • Seller Chrissy has "employee, friends, & family" discounts.
    So she has all the power to grant you something if you ask her. Nicely.

  • Salesperson Bobby has a quota he needs to meet.
    So he'll oblige quickly -- if your offer's reasonable.

  • The store owner just wants to be hella cool, and hella nice.
    People love making their customers happy, provided that they like those customers.

"So how do I really negotiate?"

Beyond just asking for a discount you have in mind, here's the bad-ass way to negotiating:

  1. Pick your desired discount. (e.g. 25% off for the coffee table)

  2. Go up to your salesperson, and ask for a discount beyond your desired number. (e.g. 35% off)

  3. If accepted, great. If not, retreat to your desired value. (25%)

  4. Likely, you'll get your discount -- if it's reasonable, of course.

Why does that method work?

We all have this "You-gave-me-something so-I-have-to-give-something-to-you" mindset. It's the philosophy behind the popular "I-owe-you-big-time" phrase. Psychologist Robert Cialdini calls this the reciprocity principle: If John gives us a toy, we feel obligated to return that gift by giving him an equal-or-greater-priced toy. So when you're quoting a higher discount (e.g. 35%), then retreat to your desired value (i.e. 25%) -- you're sending a signal to the salesperson that you're "giving" the her a "gift" by retreating to a better offer for her. So, she feels obligated to return that "gift" by accepting your 25% discount.

One important disclaimer: Be ethical about it.

If don't seek win/win deals consistently, that mindset will kill your business in the long-run. To paraphrase Spiderman (yes, we're quoting that kick-ass mutha flucka): "With power comes responsibility." If we discovered a supplier manipulated us for its win/lose situation, we'd drop the supplier immediately. They'll without-a-doubt do the same to us. Business deals not built on mutually beneficial relationships kill any long-term future you might have with your supplier -- as well as breaking the all-important social network between the two of you. Moral: Just do the right thing. Adopt the win/win mindset before you negotiate anything. Now as the biggest cheerleader in your corner (and we mean it!), please go out there and:

Negotiate like the bad-ass that you are.

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Posted on August 22

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